BY CHELSEA MADDEN JAN 2016
The Charter School System and its Growing Significance in Central Georgia
How Charters Are Created
Charter schools are tax-payer funded schools that function independently from public school systems. Charter schools are usually governed by their own independent, non-profit boards with oversight from the authorizer, such as the state or local board of education.
Charter schools are funded from sources such as State Quality Basic Education (QBE) Funding, local funding, federal grants, fundraising, and other charitable contributions.
While charter schools govern themselves, tax-payer”s funds still make charters responsible for abiding by local and state policies in areas like, disciplinary action and nutritional/sanitation standards. As public schools, they must adhere to the same open admission and enrollment standards as traditional public schools. They may not select their students or deny admission unless they already have an enrollment at capacity.
Charter schools are also responsible for creating their own school day and classes—from when class begins and ends to how many different foreign language classes it offers and what equipment is utilized in art courses. Really, just about everything is considered and pitched to a non-profit board. Moreover, according to the Georgia Charter Schools Association’s (GCSA) article Types of Charters: “In Georgia, there are two types of charter schools: startup charter schools and conversion charter schools.” This means that a charter school can either be created from the ground up or converted from an existing public school.
What Charters Have to Offer
We’ve broken it down for you, short and sweet; these are just a few reasons why charter schools in Georgia are becoming increasingly significant:
Stimulating Courses and Diverse Extracurricular Activities: Charters pride themselves in offering students courses that challenge, enlighten, and push them beyond the norm. Outside the classroom, unique art classes and competitive sport activities allow students to apply creativity and energy.
Intimate Relationships and Healthier Communication Skills: Charters possess smaller class sizes with a more efficient blend of the teacher/student ratio than most public schools. This undoubtedly aids students in the learning process; however, this also fosters close relationships and strengthens your child’s communication skills.
Preparedness for the Future: Several charter schools extend counseling to their students, whether your child needs help narrowing his or her options for a career or extra encouragement with upcoming college tests such as the ACT or SAT.
A Worldly Outlook: Though public schools tend to appeal to a certain localized area, charter schools can accept a broader audience of students. This means your child will grow up with kids different from him or her with various backgrounds or who speak a different language. This type of diversity is rich and valuable—something your child will enjoy and benefit from much later in life.
Many believe charter schools are the future of education—for both teachers and students. Of course, as a parent, YOU must decide what is best for your child. So really, the future is in your hands. No pressure, though! #
Charter Schools in Central Georgia
Academy for Classical Education
5665 New Forsyth Rd., Macon
Academy for Classical Education (ACE) is a charter meant to provide, as stated on their website, a “rigorous, structured educational experience” in Bibb County. ACE desires to think out-of-the-box as it strives to bring a more modernized outlook in and out of the classroom.
Macon Charter Academy
151 Madison St., Macon
Though its recent inspections have put the charter school on probation, the school is intent on redeeming itself. In addition to improving its conditions, Macon Charter agreed
COMING IN 2016
Cirrus Academy, approved by the state in September 2014, plans to renovate the former Hamilton Elementary School building at 1870 Pio Nono Avenue in Macon with the financial support of HighMark School Development. Scheduled to open in August 2016, it will be open to out-of-county students.